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July 25, 2014

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Mike Tyson’s relapse confession was an unscripted moment

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Steve Marcus

Mike Tyson handles one of his pigeons in the backyard of his Seven Hills home. He keeps more than 100 birds on the property.

Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth - Live on Stage

Former undisputed heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson performs in Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth - Live on Stage Launch slideshow »

Mike Tyson’s “slip” into a brief dalliance with drinking went public because of … well, Mike Tyson.

Iron Mike unexpectedly spoke of his recent relapse during a news conference Friday at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, N.Y., where he was promoting his first professional fight card.

“I’m dangerous. I’m dark. I want to hang out in this neighborhood alone (pointing at his head), and I had to talk to my fellow alcoholics and junkies about this certain situation,” he said. “I’ve been, um … I have six days clean and sober, and that’s a miracle.” (The clip of that news conference embedded in this column contains foul language.)

The “situation” was that Tyson relapsed the weekend before last in Henderson. He’d been talking of being sober for four years but has had three slips before the most recent setback he talked of in New York.

That disclosure, which seemed to have Tyson near tears, caught his wife, Kiki, off guard (she wasn’t present at the time). On Sunday, she said her feeling was that Tyson had faltered to the pressure of his recent success, which included his one-man show playing Las Vegas and Broadway and touring Australia (Spike Lee has directed concert film of Tyson’s performance to air this year on HBO).

But crucial to all of this discussion is that Tyson has returned to 12-step meetings in Las Vegas, where he is treated no differently than anyone else addressing addiction. He’s been on a the proverbial recovery roller coaster and has long said that his best chance — and likely only chance — to live peacefully is to stay aligned with individuals who can help him stay sober. Lee once said, ““Mike Tyson is the most honest human I’ve ever met.”

That, too, is the undisputed truth.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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